The Virtual High School Announces 60 Summer Graduates from its Online Teaching Methodologies (OTM) Professional Development Course

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 11:10 am

According to the National Education Association, it’s essential for online teachers to be “specifically prepared for the unique challenges of online instruction,” but most teachers enter the profession without such training. For that reason, The Virtual High School(VHS) is excited to announce 60 new graduates of its recently-updated Online Teaching Methodologies (OTM) teacher training course.

“In my 35 years as a teacher, this has to rank as one of the best professional development sessions I have had,” said Ron Olson, an AP® U.S. History and AP® U.S. Government teacher, a co-chair of his school district’s social studies and humanities departments and one of the recent OTM graduates. “This has been very practical and opened my eyes to the world of online learning.”

Teachers who teach for nonprofit VHS already have teaching certification in their field and receive professional development via OTM to qualify them to teach VHS classes online. VHS has offered rigorous graduate-level training to thousands of classroom teachers since 1996. Over the summer, a total of 60 teachers graduated from OTM in three separate classes, with a blend of educators from social studies, English, math, world languages, science, computer science and the arts.

Participants gave the newly revised course their stamp of approval, reporting that they felt the experience had successfully prepared them for teaching in the online classroom. Many commented that they would also apply the learning from their OTM experience to their face-to-face classrooms.

VHS is constantly assessing all programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of participating schools. As such, the VHS Curriculum and Instruction team spent a year evaluating the OTM course to determine what areas needed to be modified to better reflect the newly-revised National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (NSQOT).OTM is now a four-week online course focused on acquainting teachers with best practices in online instruction, specifically meeting professional responsibilities, meeting the needs of all learners, creating an engaging online classroom and providing substantive feedback to improve learner outcomes. The OTM course is followed by an also-revised Brightspace Fundamentals training program, which familiarizes participating teachers with the learning management system. Participants also benefit from a more robust faculty advising program during their first semester of teaching.

“While many teachers come to us with experience in online teaching and learning, it’s in these collaborative spaces that teachers are able to share their thoughts on the content of OTM and make connections while deepening their understanding.” said Stacy Young, Associate Dean of Faculty. “This understanding is further reinforced during the Online Teacher Induction Program when they will apply their learning under the supervision of a mentor teacher during their first semester teaching with VHS.”

About The Virtual High School Inc.

The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides global online classes for secondary school studentsto supplement their face-to-face curriculumand online professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning.  For more information, visit www.vhslearning.orgor call (978) 897-1900.

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